VALENCIA, Spain (AFP) – Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi took advantage of world champion Marc Marquez’s misfortune to claim his 50th career MotoGP pole position for Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix.
Marquez is hoping to make history with a record 13th win of the season with victory on home soil after equalling Australian rider Mick Doohan’s mark of 12 victories in 17 races from 1997 after winning in Malaysia last time out.
However, his hopes were dented as he crashed after registering just one lap in qualifying on Saturday to finish down in fifth on the grid.
Rossi’s time of 1min 30.843sec denied Italian compatriot Andres Iannone his first MotoGP pole with Marquez’s Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa completing the first row of the grid.
Two-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo’s hopes of leapfrogging teammate Rossi into second in the world championship standings were also hit as he starts down in fourth.